Shawn Rine’s NFL Picks
Philadelphia 32, Houston 17
Michael Vick finally had his first off day, as he actually turned the ball over last weekend. He didn’t throw an interception though, something he actually hasn’t done in the last two seasons. The Texans are in the middle of their usual season-ending swoon, with the low point coming last week when Andre Johnson, still the best receiver in the game for my money, pounded the heck out of Cortland Finnegan. No such actions here, but still no victory, either.
Jacksonville 23, Tennessee 20
The Jaguars can cement themselves as the team to beat in the AFC South with a victory here, though it’s never pretty when these two clubs meet. You have to be concerned about the availability of Titans running back Chris Johnson, who left early a week ago. Do I buy Jacksonville as a legit Super-Bowl contender? Certainly not, but it has the look of a division champ, given the current climate.
N.Y. Giants 26, Washington 25
The Giants can’t keep up this charade of playing down to the competition, can they? History says it will continue to happen, because it generally does at this point in the season. What is interesting though, is the true contenders seem to be separating themselves from the field like they always do at this point, and those teams are leaving New York in the dust. However, there seems to be a new drama each week in the nation’s capital, making it difficult to concentrate on what’s important.
Denver 24, Kansas City 21
It’s pretty obvious the Broncos are going nowhere this season, and no amount of illegal taping of the opposition is going to change that. Already Denver is relegated to the role of spoiler, and what better chance than against a surprising AFC West leader that has to feel the surging Chargers breathing down its neck. With the defense Kansas City has built, this is a team that will have to be reckoned with in the very near future. That said, how nasty has Dwayne Bowe been lately?
New Orleans 33, Cincinnati 13
At what point do Marvin Lewis and Carson Palmer have to stand up and take some accountability? This is easily the most gifted offensive team either has had in their tenure, yet at this point in the season, they still aren’t on the same page? I honestly believe it’s time to start over with a new coach and a new quarterback because they have proven over the long haul they’re not winners. Drew Brees and the Saints have proven just the opposite.
Buffalo 27, Minnesota 16
OK, I’ve said it before, but I really mean it this time: This is the final nail in the Brett Favre coffin. Honestly, I wish it was already over because I’m tired of turning on pregame shows on Sunday and having them all lead with what’s going on with a 4-7 Vikings team. Outside of Minnesota (not convinced even there) who actually cares anymore? Love what Buffalo brings to the table not the most talented team, but it plays very hard.
Green Bay 28, San Francisco 21
Even in the downtrodden NFC West, the 49ers can’t afford another loss. Unfortunately, up next is a Packers team that is perhaps being overlooked by just about everyone. You have to give Mike McCarthy a lot of credit NFL Coach of the Year-type credit for holding this ship together, what will all the injuries the team has suffered. The return of Donald Driver makes this a lot more potent of an offense.
Detroit 12, Chicago 9
You can’t actually expect Jay Cutler to have two consecutive outstanding games. His career tells us that rarely occurs. I’ve gone on record many times as saying Matt Stafford’s health obviously a big part of it the Lions are actually going to be good sooner, rather than later. Perhaps that run begins this week against the Bears.
Miami 29, Cleveland 20
Call me crazy, but I think the Browns are going to contend for the AFC North crown next season. As of this writing, it was not known who would start for Cleveland at QB, but the thinking is, it will be Jake Delhomme. The Browns are unquestionably a better club with Colt McCoy under center.
San Diego 35, Oakland 6
You’re not going to convince me the Chargers are for real, but they are on a roll. We’ve seen this act each of the last few seasons start extremely slow, finish fast and suddenly they’re everyone’s Super-Bowl favorite again. It’s going on right now on every channel, with every group of ‘experts.’ The problem with that theory is, each season they go belly-up in the playoffs.
Seattle 12, Carolina 11
If there’s anyone outside these two cities watching this game, they need to see a doctor. You can’t find anything better nails through your eyelids than put yourself through this kind of torture? Like Cincinnati, it’s probably time that Seattle went in a different direction. It’s just time for a different direction, period, for the Panthers.
Dallas 23, Indianapolis 20
Three weeks ago this pick would have been obvious. But what we’ve seen lately from both these teams is astonishing the Cowboys appear on the way back up, while the Colts would be out of the playoffs if they started today. It’s only been two weeks, but is it time to possibly start talking about the demise of Peyton Manning, who has thrown seven interceptions in the last two weeks?
Atlanta 31, Tampa Bay 13
The Falcons have some difficulty winning away from home, but this shouldn’t be much of a problem. The Buccaneers fancy themselves as contenders, but every time they play a good team, the result shows they are no doubt pretenders. Sure, Tampa Bay has a lot of future pieces in place. But until it learns how to stop the run, there will be more days like this one.
St. Louis 27, Arizona 3
It certainly was amusing to see Cardinals quarterback Derek Anderson huff and puff off the podium Monday night after being questioned thoroughly by a reporter as to what he could have possibly been laughing about on the sideline during a humiliating loss. That’s exactly the type of thing that goes on with a franchise that hasn’t been all that productive ever with the obvious exception being that one berth in the Super Bowl. Sam Bradford continues to impress as the Rams’ rookie starting quarterback, and could be in line for an Offensive Rookie of the Year honor.
Pittsburgh 27, Baltimore 17
This is the one I have personally been waiting on the one that’s going to decide the AFC North. Everyone keeps pointing to the fact the Ravens have already beaten the Steelers, but these folks conveniently leave out the fact Ben Roethlisberger did not play. That would be the same Roethlisberger than has owned Baltimore, winning the last five times the teams have met. Let’s hope the Steelers don’t continue to run the ball 40 times a game, and instead put the ball in the hands of No. 7 and Mike Wallace.
New England 35, N.Y. Jets 21
Like the previous selection, another revenge game is at hand. I’m not sure how the Patriots are even in this position, other than Tom Brady. There’s just nothing else to like about New England’s game, but Brady is so good that he makes up for a lot of shortcomings. Just about everyone has grown tired of the Jets’ constant yapping, but that should come to an end right here and now.